Saturday, July 15, 2006

Misplaced sympathy

Women are not responsible for their own actions and can be controlled by the whims of strong men.
People with disabilities should not be held to the same standards as their 'able' peers.

Well, you could be forgiven for getting that impression after reading about an Edmonton court's decision not to hand a jail term to a woman with cerebral palsy who engaged in at least one sex act with her 6 year old son and who posted nude pictures of him on the Internet.

Justice Mary Moreau said the woman was 'spared' jail time because that would pose “unusual hardship”. This 'mother' imposed unusual hardship on her child --- and yet because she did it to 'please' her Internet lover, whom she was obliged to 'obey' -- this woman is being saved from jail time because of her gender and her disability.
The woman must perform 60 hours of community service, take counselling and treatment and is banned from using the Internet for the first three months.
This is punishment?

The newspaper says:
The woman suffers from cerebral palsy and has very restrictive use of her hands and difficulties with speech.
The judge said that the "physical infirmities and psychological vulnerabilities" of the woman played a role in her decision, and said that the woman was a "particularly vulnerable disabled victim," who was exploited by a "sexual predator." The judge said that the woman is classified as a low risk to reoffend and a jail sentence would be "considerably harsher" for her than for others.

Look how this reads . . . what about equal treatment for the disabled? The woman's infirmities didn't prevent her from operating a webcam and sexually abusing her son -- how could they possibly be relevant to a jail term when all government facilities are obligated to be accessible to the disabled?

Justice Moreau thinks that this women should be treated differently from other pedophiles and sexual offenders because she has determined the woman to be mentally and physically fragile. What does that say to the woman's child? That his violation at the hands of his mother is secondary to the mother's infirmities?

This woman was not the 'victim of an Internet predator' as the judge says -- that child was the victim of his mother. Period.

The criminal behaviour of this woman should not be excused simply because she was warped enough to act on the perverted ideas of someone she met on the Internet. She is guilty. She put herself above her child. She was not a victim trying to please her Internet lover --she is an adult who was pleasing herself by pleasing her lover.

People have to be held accountable for their own actions regardless of gender or disability. We have to stop excusing criminal behaviour --- even when perpetrator is pathetic.